A PERTH grandfather has become the first person in WA to get a hip replacement performed by a surgeon using a robot to guide the replacement joint through the front of the hip.
Edgewater resident Dean Wakefield (58), who started having hip pain three years ago, underwent the procedure on October 22 at Joondalup Health Campus.
Murray Blythe, an orthopaedic surgeon with special interests in hip and knee replacements, performed the procedure on his patient alongside robotic surgery expert Arash Taheri.
“With the direct anterior approach the incision in made on the front of the hip and we don’t cut any tendons or muscles to access the joint” Mr Blythe said.
“The addition of robot-assisted technology allows for greater accuracy with placement of the joint replacement.”
Mr Taheri said the minimally invasive, muscle-saving procedure was one of the newer approaches to total hip replacements.
“It’s now fairly widely used worldwide and on the east coast, but in WA using robot-assisted technology to go into the hip socket from the front has not been done before,” he said.
“A specific CT scan of the patient was taken before the operation and a 3D model is created.
“We then used computer technology to plan exactly where the implant is going to go.
“This allowed us to then be guided by the robot in theatre, to execute the procedure to the same level of accuracy as planned.”
Mr Taheri said traditional non-robotic surgery in hip replacement was performed using simple 2D x-ray templates and involving rudimentary intra-operative measurements, relying heavily on the surgeon’s judgement and experience.
“Robot-guided replacement enables you to get the perfect orientation with the hip socket in every case, enhanced hip biomechanics and has improved recovery time,” he said.
“In this case, we achieved the hip replacement within one millimetre accuracy, so from that perspective, it was an unqualified success.
“We’ll now be keen to see now how his recovery progresses and will be closely monitoring a number of key clinical measures before he goes home.
“From our national and international colleagues we know that this approach normally results in patients walking more comfortably in the first few weeks after the operation – and usually they are back to walking unaided within days instead of weeks.”
Mr Wakefield said he was looking forward to getting back to business at his Mariginiup gooseberry farm and to family.
“I have a share in a hydroponic farm where I grow gooseberries and it was becoming really difficult to work with the pain I was in – even simple things like getting in and out of the car had started to take a toll,” he said.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting home and being able play with the grandkids without being in constant pain.”